A Rising Ruckman

St Mary's graduate Ryan Emerson's sporting career is soaring...

Past student Ryan Emerson has always had a passion for football and worked hard at it through dedication and pushing past barriers. He was recently featured in the Herald newspaper with shining comments from Hawthorn legend Gary Ayres, who now coaches the Montrose football team.

Read the excerpt from the Hearld Sun article below...

Montrose’s Ryan Emerson debuts in ‘one of the best feel-good stories’, Ayres says

Montrose coach Gary Ayres has been around senior footy for near 50 years – but says his latest debutant’s story is hard to top. Meet young ruckman Ryan Emerson – and remember the name.

Montrose ruckman Ryan Emerson
Montrose ruckman Ryan Emerson. Picture: Sue Lennon

Montrose coach Gary Ayres says it’s “one of the best stories I’ve been involved with in 45 years” of senior footy.

Emerging talent Ryan Emerson didn’t miss a trick in his debut for the Eastern league Division 1 club on Saturday.

Despite the Dees overcoming a 10-point deficit late to sink North Ringwood by two points – and arrest a three-game losing run – Emerson’s maiden top-flight appearance transcended the scoreboard.

Emerson is deaf.

But the disability didn’t stop the steely young ruckman from carving out a debut to remember.

Toiling away in the under-19s for the past year and a bit alongside stints in the reserves, Ayres said Emerson had earned his stripes.

Receiving a late call-up for second ruckman Kyle Staples, the coach wasn’t short of praise for what the club’s sixth debutant of the season produced.

Full Flight
Montrose ruckman Ryan Emerson in full flight. Picture: Sue Lennon

“He came in a little bit unexpectedly, I guess, because we had another second ruck pull out through work,” Ayres said.

“He’s a competitive young man and clearly that’s what you want to see – he’ll give you a very honest effort.

“Sometimes when we’re not playing to our capabilities, effort and energy are two things that each individual can control, and I thought he certainly brought that in his role on Saturday.”

On hand was Emerson’s brother, Lachlan Gray, relaying the coach’s instructions via sign language.

Lachlan Interpreting
Montrose ruckman Ryan Emerson receives instruction from brother Lachlan Gray. Picture: Sue Lennon

“His brother was there alongside me on the boundary and we were actually able to get a permit where his brother could actually run out onto the ground and translate from a sign language point of view,” Ayres said.

“The players had a bit of a heads-up as to what his hitting areas were and they were able to communicate that with sign language.”

Hitting the front with a minute to go, the club rooms soon swelled with boisterous, rusted-on supporters as the Dees notched their fifth win of the season from eight starts.

Every Heart Beats True
The Montrose rooms swayed to ‘Every heart beats true’ on Saturday. Picture: Supplied

Consecutive losses to Beaconsfield, Bayswater and Mooroolbark were washed away with a heaving Gatorade shower – Emerson in the victory circle’s crossfire to toast his first senior win.

“There was a lot of people in the rooms and it’s probably one of the loudest renditions of the song I’ve heard for a long time,” Ayres said.

“As a club, Montrose is pretty proud that the young lad’s been able to get an opportunity.

“To play at this level, I reckon it’s one of the best feel-good stories you can have.”

- Written by Daniel Cencic

- Article: Hearld, May 28, 2024. (News Corp Australia Sports Newsroom)
- Images: Sue Lennon